State liquor suspensions leave taverns shut down

Two local taverns had to close up shop — at least temporarily — after being placed on suspension by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

The owners of Stillwater, located at 1951 Ashland Street in Ashland, and of Woody's Pub & Grill, located at 42 N. Front St. in Medford, opted to take the suspensions in lieu of fines, said OLCC Inspector Jon Rhodes.

Woody's owner, Steven Brown, was cited for serving liquor to a minor who was actually an OLCC decoy, said Matt Roberts, an agency representative.

The pub's owner opted to accept a nine-day suspension in lieu of a $1,485 fine. Woody's was closed from Jan 2.

The suspension was lifted on Jan. 11, but the bar and grill remains shuttered, Roberts and Rhodes said.

Brown couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

Rhodes said Woody's is not expected to reopen in the same location for reasons not associated with the OLCC shutdown, but he declined to elaborate. Rhodes said Brown's OLCC license was valid.

Stillwater owner Christopher Moeschl was cited by the OLCC for failing to obtain liquor liability insurance of at least $300,000. The Stillwater case originated in April 2009 and resulted in a negotiated settlement that required Moeschl to close down his business from Jan. 2 to Feb. 2 after he declined to pay the $4,950 fine, Rhodes said.

"The suspension time was designated by us," he said.

Liquor liability insurance can cost between $10,000 to $25,000 a year or more, depending upon the venue, Rhodes said. The state regulatory agency is cracking down hard on establishments that do not have the insurance, he added.

Moeschl did not immediately return calls to the Mail Tribune Thursday. But Rhodes said Moeschl had purchased the necessary insurance after reaching the agreement with OLCC.

"He would have had to do so in order to continue operating," Rhodes said.

Stillwater's business licenses, fees and taxes are paid and up to date with the city of Ashland, according to city officials. But there is no official word on whether the popular watering hole with the large stage for live performances will reopen in February.

Its Web site,, lists shows scheduled throughout February, starting with Salsa Brava on Feb. 5.

"I would assume (Stillwater) is going to open back up and that (Moeschl) is just honoring his suspension," said Rhodes.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail

Share This Story